Dr. Who Dat?

Aaron Shier

These days, if an independent Hip-Hop artist wants to dabble in a side project, such an undertaking seems to require an alter-ego-or two, or three. All too often these name changes prove to be superficial, ill-conceived attention-grabbing gimmicks.

New York born, Philly-based rapper/producer/DJ Jneiro Jarel is jumping on the alter-ego bandwagon as “Dr. Who Dat?” His new moniker, however, is made more significant by a potential association with the long-running British science fiction television show Doctor Who. Just as the show follows a time-traveling adventurer known as “The Doctor,” Beat Journey finds “Who Dat?” time-traveling as well. He does so by employing a cut-and-paste strategy, melding live instrumentation and samples from various time periods and various genres-Jazz, Soul, Brazilian, Hip-Hop and more-into a coherent, funky, cosmic whole. Comparisons with early A Tribe Called Quest and Digable Planets relocates “Who Dat?” in the realm of early 90s Jazz-based Hip-Hop. In the present, Jarel’s mellow melodies and hypnotic rhythms on Beat Journey reside in Lex Record’s catalogue, alongside the work of other notable experimental beat makers. Thankfully, Jarel’s alias proves to be no gimmick-the “Who Dat?” designation may seem goofy, but the beats are no joke.